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Friends, another program going through the mandatory isolation, Emilie Longtin, noted that “you completely lose any sense of what time it is, what day it is!”

With Summer of 2020 just now gloriously aflame in the Land of the Midnight Sun, being greeted upon arrival at the Yellowknife airport by GNWT officials, to be shuttled to two weeks of imposed self-closure was no laughing matter.

As it turned out, though, being confined to the swanky Chateau Nova was a pleasant surprise.
Before, I thought for sure I would be scrambling all over town just for a bite to eat, but the way MACA has this set up you really don’t have to lift a finger.

One employee, Chris Hewitt, kept a sharp eye on the goings-on in the lobby and made sure people knew to sign out before making a break for the great outdoors! One bonus noted right away, as a student, my ticket was covered, back to Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope.

Other centres included for these isolation posts include Hay River, Fort Smith, and Inuvik. There were people from all over the North, about a hundred at any given time going through the same precaution. The food from the downstairs Quarry restaurant was plentiful, on time and delicious.

Mostly, though, you got so used to just watching TV that you could memorize the shows you missed.

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Then again, too, just from the practice over the last several months you’ve already gotten used to doing things online.

In my case I’d begun an article for the 50th Anniversary of the Dene Nation, to be featured in the September/October issue of UpHere magazine.

Filmmaker Raymond Yakeleya and I were invited to collect our memories of the earliest days of the Indian Brotherhood of the NWT.

Of course, these included the famous Berger Inquiry, begun in the early ’70s and eventually deciding on no pipeline for the North.

Also the famous Paulette Case, which firmly established the matter of Indigenous rights, at a time centuries after the initial 1763 Royal Proclamation spelled out Hands off the Indians.
Working on the history of the North, too, puts you in contact with others who were there, front and centre.

Former Lutsel K’e Chief Felix Lockhart and Johnny, ‘JC’, Catholique, helped fill in the blanks about the first chiefs and leaders, like Joe Lockhart Sr. and master bushman, Perre Catholic, how they tied the community to the movement.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a couple of weeks cooped up, with that old cabin fever knocking on every door. One apparent feature, to keep the North at Zero-Status for the pandemic, is that the mandatory isolation will continue until a medical directive comes forth.

Looking back, it really couldn’t have been all that bad. One young man told me he was trying every which way to get his two-weeks extended!

Mahsi, thank you.

Antoine Mountain

Antoine Mountain is a Dene artist and writer originally from Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope. He can be reached at www.mountainarts.com.

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